Every year, countless accidents occur due to falls. In 2021, falls were ranked number 3 in the top 10 causes of preventable injuries in the U.S. That is why fall and injury prevention is a crucial aspect of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for individuals of all ages.
Whether in homes, workplaces or public spaces, implementing effective fall prevention measures can greatly reduce the risk of accidents and their after-effects. A major part of fall prevention is knowing the risks so you can save yourself a stressful trip to the hospital.
Unfortunately, there are several risks factors associated with falling, many of which relate to pre-existing conditions such as:
- Weakness in the lower body
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives or antidepressants, or even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance
- Vision problems
- Foot pain or poor footwear
- Home hazards such as broken or uneven steps, steep elevations, uneven rugs and clutter
Having a disability can also put you at higher risk for falling, especially if you have conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), which affects your vision and limb movement, or cerebral palsy (CP), which affects your ability to move and overall balance. Even conditions such as hypotension can increase the risk of falling, as the sudden drop in blood pressure can cause you to faint.
To better your chances of not landing in the hospital, try following these simple tips to prevent future falls in your home:
- In the bathroom, install grab bars (including in the shower), a raised toilet seat, a shower chair and a handheld shower head. Install a textured floor in the bathtub and shower or use stickers as an alternative.
- Secure or remove all throw rugs.
- Maintain proper hydration to avoid becoming lightheaded.
- Maintain proper nutrition to avoid becoming disoriented.
- Keep your home brightly lit, especially in hallways and stairways.
- Remove clutter.
- Monitor medication side effects and interactions and discuss with your doctor alternatives that don’t cause drowsiness, lightheadedness, disorientation or confusion.
There’s only so much you can do on your own
Preventing falls on your own may not be enough. In some cases, you might need a second opinion to help decide what you should do to keep yourself safe. Speak with your doctor about what could be causing you to have a high risk of falling. He or she can tell you if you have any conditions causing you to lose balance or recommend ways to strengthen your body, such as vitamins, supplements or exercise.
Home care is also a viable option for seeking outside assistance. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers can provide you with an extra set of eyes for hazards as our caregivers are trained to evaluate cautious environments, adding a layer of safety to your home.
For more information on ways to prevent falls and ensure the safety of your home, please download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Fall Prevention Guide.
For more information on caring for a loved one with dementia, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Memory Care Guide.